Psalm 25:1

Ben Crick ben.crick at
Thu Jul 16 21:42:42 EDT 1998

On Mon 13 Jul 98 (08:39:29), glenpjohnson at wrote:
> What is the meaning of NAFSHI 'ESSA' (NEFESH NASA') in Psalm 25:1? The
> same phrase occurs in Psalm 86:4 and 143:8.
> Does it mean "I desire You" or is "I communicate with You my emotions,
> desires and passions?" I'm not trying to limit your options, but I am
> sharing with you the options that appear most likely to me.

 Dear Glen

 ISTM that here is the origin of the liturgical greeting /Sursum corda/
 and its response /Ad Dominum habemus/. (Lift up your hearts. We lift them
 up to the Lord). The Latin Vulgate renders Ps 25:1 /Ad te, Domine, levavi
 animam meam/. The LXX has PROS SE, KURIE, HiRA THN YUCHN MOU (Ps 24:1).
 That is what it meant to Jerome; and that is what it meant to the Seventy.

 If the Psalter was indeed the "Hymn Book of the Second Temple" then we
 can expect it to be a source for Christian liturgical phrases. Another
 one is the liturgical salutation /Pax vobiscum/ (Peace be with you) and
 its response /Et cum spiritu tuo/ (and with thy spirit). Not "with thy
 spirit"; but "with thee".

 The NePheSh is one's living soul; Genesis 2:7 WaYYeHiY Ha'aDhaM LeNePheSh
 ChaYYaH. The Psalmist frequently exhorts himself to do things, addressing
 himself as "my soul" or "my heart". Mary in her /Magnificat/ uses the
 same convention: MEGALUNEI hH YUCH MOU TON KURION (Luke 1:47). Delitzsch
 renders this into Hebrew  WaTTo'MeR MiRYaM RoWMaMMaH NaPhShiY 'eTh-YHWH
 (Luke 1:46b). So the convention is well established. "My soul" or "my
 heart" = "me".

 ShaLoWM `aLeKha
 Revd Ben Crick, BA CF
 <ben.crick at>
 232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)

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